tv America Tonight Al Jazeera November 13, 2013 9:00pm-10:01pm EST
>> welcome to orbitalis. i am john seggen they willer for new york. the numbers in for president obama's affordable care act. 10 sick,000 signed up. >> that's about 20% of predictions. republicans say it's the best evidence yet obamacare is a failure. four marines were killed this morning in an accident at camp pendleton, california. it happened during what the military calls a range maintenance operation. the marines reportedly were working with explosives at the time of the incident. no further details were relea released. in pittsburgh, three students were shot outside a high school today. no one was seriously injured. police have taken six people in to custody for questioning.
they say it might be related to a drug dispute that took place at the school about a month ago. same-sex marriage is now the law in hawaii gore neil aberchrombie signed the deal earlier. hawaii the 15th state to allow gay and less beian couples to, to mary. illinois's governor is poise today sign a similar bill next week. america tonight is up next. i am john seeing igenthaleseige i will have more news at 11 eastern, 8 pacific time. always get the latest news on aljazeera.com. >> on america tonight, crime and punishment, sentenced to life in prison at the age of 14. does the punishment really fit the crime? an americ"american tonight" exc,
lockets up for life. >> i heard the word "life" i didn't understand that meant i was going to prison. >> tonight, a raging cycle, typhoon hiayan did he have states some of the world's poorest people. can they ever escape poverty's tight grip? and in on air natural. >> good morning. you have a missing dog? chattanooga's friendliest wake-up called and america's oldest dj. >> did you think back then that you would still be sitting in a radio booth today? >> this many years later, no, i did not. >> good evening, everyone.
joie chen is on assignment. i am adam may. in the u.s., right now, about 2500 people are serving life without parole for crimes they committed as juveniles. last year, the u.s. supreme court ruled that making those sentences mandatory was unconstitutional. tonight, age america tonight exclusive. inside an illinois prison for a man who was given a life sentence at the age of just 14 now speaking out for the very first time. it's the second installment in our series, crime and punishment. >> in october, 1990, three members of chicago's gangster disciples set out to settle a score with a rifle gang. the youngest of the group just two months past his 14th birthday was a boy named adolpho davis. >> i hear people saying games gangs. my destiny was written when i was born into a chaotic family. so, being born into as many
other kids get born into every day is like i -- life is written for us. >> in the turf war that follow owed, two r i have a l gang members were shot dead although it was never proven he fired a gun he was convicted of double murder. the law was clear and uncompromising. if you are part of a group that commits a murder, you are a murderer. the sentencing rules were just as unforgive be. the double homicide required the judge to impose the harshest of sentences, life without the possibility of parole. the 14-year-old boy was sentenced to life in prison. >> the message today to every criminal gang praying on the innocent is clear: we need to put you out of business to break the backs of your organization, to put you away for a very long time. >> the '90s in chicago, vicious drug wars overwhelmed the city
and the tough on crime mentality thrived. adolfo davis's case barely caused a rimmel. >> i heard the word "life" but i didn't understand that meant i was going to die in prison. >> 23 years, davis sits behind bards at maximum security state correctional center in cristhill, illinois. now, his case is at the center of a nationwide movement to rethink the juvenile justice system and right old wrongs? >> i see people walk out of here every day. that my day will come. >> in the summer of 2012, davis found a new reason for hope in the case called miller v. alabama. "mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles were declared unconstitutional." the question wasn't whether kids could be locked up for life.
that, according to the supreme court, is still permissible. the real question was whether it was mandatory. r or whether judges and juries should be allowed to consider mitigating. >> juvenile law and policy, adolfo's supervising attorney? >> at the time of these sentenc sentences, no court ever considered their use. all of the characteristics that come with use, the specific role that they played in the offense. >> on this point, the u.s. supreme court was clear, a child's circumstance matter and it's cruel and unusual punishment to impose mandatory life sentences on them. >> the question before the illinois court is whether it applies retroactively. that means whether it a i plies to all of these old cases. >> adolpho's indicate is in the lands of the illinois supreme court where he is making the indicates the new ruling does apply to old cases and that he
deserves a resentencing. if he is successful, it will open the door for 100 other cases in the state. >> illinois is being watched. a couple of courts have come down on the side of retro activity. a couple have come do you know on the side that miller isn't retroactive. so ultimately, about how much we want to undo wrong that we did in the 1990s. father dave kelly met at young adolpho davis when he was first locked up at 14, barely 5 feet tall and just over 100 pounds. >> what was your first impression of him? do you remember? >> scared. he was scared. but he was a strong little guy. one on one, there was a level of fear of what this was all going to mean. >> kelly learned of his troubled home life, an absent father and drug addicted mother. his grandmother, fannie mae davis became his primary caregiver, between her sick husband, disabled son and other
grandchildren, davis's grandmother struggled to provide support and supervision. >> my grandmother, she took care of me and everybody else, you know, but she came to keep an eye on me. >> davis's first brush with the law came when he was just nine years old. >> i was hungry. this little girl came out of the store with a bag. i snatched the bag of food because i was hungry. she held on to the bug but she dropped $0.$075 and $3 of food stamps and i picked it up and went to eat and that's why the police called me a desperate fool. >> desperate people do desperate things? >> he lived outside of the house more and more because of the chaos within the house. there wasn't food. there wasn't all of the things a little kid growing up needed. he started to find that on the outside. he started to hang out with some older guys who were in the gang and they took care of him because he was a likeable kid. >> they gave me a roof over my head. i was eating, getting $350 a
week for looking out for the police at first. so, i am like, man, this was like heaven for me. >> davis's unstable family life was well documented by the illinois department of children and family services according to court documents, the juvenile court acknowledged he had fallen through the cracks of the child welfare system. that didn't stop him from being sent to adult court. >> prosecutors argued that davis could have just stood there with his hands in his pockets and he is still guilty of home envision and first degree murder. in 1993, a jury did find davis guilty of double murder. no matter the circumstances, the court was required to give him a mandatory life sentence. >> how long did it take to process that you were going to be here for the rest of your life? >> when i went to the correction center. >> we are not taking a day? >> years. >> years
>> i was in my 20s. >> okay. >> adolfo tried to navigate prison life the only way he knew. he stuck to his game. misconduct eventually landed him at toms correctional center. at the age of 21, he was entering four years in isolation. >> like a reality sunk in. everything slowed down. my life just hit my like, bam. so -- >> why? what happened? >> i was able to think. i wasability clear my head of all of the false realities i had been saying to myself throughout the years. >> jill stevens was adolfo's therapist the entire time in sizelation of all of the prisoners she coun signaled over the years, something about adolfo stood out. >> he had this positive good rapport despite the horrible background and upbringing. most people would feel like you would need to be a pretty heinous, remorseless person to
be locationed up for your entire life without the chance to even go before a parole board to see if -- what they think of you. it goggles my mind that anyone would choose to use illinois's limited resources to keep adolfo davis in prison for more than he's already been in prison. >> what's your biggest fear? >> dying in prison. >> why? >> because i don't want this to be the last thing i see, you know. there is a whole beautiful world out there and me dying and here, this is like a nightmare. >> there is no way you can reopen all of these cases. it's for resentencing. you simply cannot recreate due process of law in cases that are decades old. >> many victims of violent crime are taking a stand against the notion that old cases could now be re-opened.
jennifer bishop jenkins has led these victims' rights active nationwide motivated by a sentence. her sister and brother-in-law were murdered by a juvenile, the same year davis was arrested. she said the thought of their case being re-opened is terrifyi terrifying. >> i was completeliy retraumatized by the fear of this offender possibly being release and having to face him again, going to two years of the legal proceeding in his case was devastatingly, overwhelmingly difficult. >> i think the crime, the death of two people is horrific. my heart goes out to those families. but all of the punishment of adolfo davis will not help that family or those families. i think that's the punitive system we are a part of. >> the illinois supreme court will decide adolpho is fate in the coming months. he has served 23 years in prison. with time off for good behavior, he could be resentenced and
released as early as next year. >> what's the first thing you would want to do if you get out? >> go to disney land. i am serious. honestly. i want to be a kid. i want to do things i was not able to do. >> you see think about going to disney land? >> i want to do things like that and see things, things i was going to. i was going to see them when i was a kid. i was going there to steal. so i didn't pay attention to the exhibits. now, i just want to go there and take in the things that i missed. >> what do you think it's going to be like if you he have do get out and go back and adjust to the outside? >> i think about that every day. it scares me. it's like, you know how you have never been to prison. so when you are out there and you are like, i don't want to go to prison. all of the terror that you feel trying to come to prison, it's like reverse for me. like this is all i know.
>> if he is released, adolfo davis will walk into a world that in some ways has been completely transformed and is exactly the same. the poverty rate in washington park where davis grew up was among the highest in the nation in 1990. and remains so today. and the streets, they are still filled with hungry kids doing desperate things just to survive. but at least now, the courts will have to listen to their stories before passing judgment. >> that the exclusive report from our christoph putzel. he was 14 years old at the time that he was convicted under mapped tory sentencing and part of the interesting aspect, i think, of his case, there was no proof, no evidence that he actually fired a weapon, that he actually committed a homicide? >> that's right, adam. he was just there. he was -- there was no proof that he actually fired a weapon, that he did kill anybody. he was considered an acomplex.
back then, if you are an accomplice, you are a murderer. because there is mandatory sentencing, he was sentenced to life in prison. >> the life, as you mentioned, is so different after serving 23 years in prison and one thing that certainly concerns some victims advocacy groups is the possibility of these people getting out of prison and committing another crime. do you feel after talking to him that he has somehow changed his life while he's been behind bars? >> yeah. well you have to remember that he was 14 years old when he went in. so he is now 37. he is a completely different person. we've all changed in that amount of time. but for him, you know, in the beginning, it was really difficult when you are going to juvy, when you go into a maximum security prison and you are around other prisoners, you are often fight to go survive. the first couple of years were incredibly tough. it wasn't until he was in isolation that he had that moment of where he felt like he could think as he said in the piece and really trying to do something different with his life. now he is working as a teaching assistant, trying to help other prisoners learn to read, learn
math. he also mentors younger juveniles, trying to convince them to get out of the gang life, that this isn't a good path. this is somebody i think would be leading a different life if he got out. >> it's interesting. when you look at the bigger issue and i want to bring into the conversation if we could right now, justin brooks, a professor at california western school of -- director of a california innocence projects. thank you for joining us professor brooks. i think one of the things that is very alarming when you look at this issue is how different the united states treats juvenile offenders compared to other nations all across the world. can you put this in perspective for us? >> yeah. we are completely out of whack with the rest of the world. i mean if you look at the three countries that actually allow life without parole sentences for juveniles, it's somalia, the south sudan and the sglunths of america. >> that's not a list for us to be proud to be on. and this has been consistent in
the criminal justice system. we were the last country to say that we could no longer execute juveniles. that only happened eight years ago. the rest of the world has gotten away from this sentence, and we are not even talking about mandatory life without parole. we are talking about sentencing people to life in prison. it just doesn't happen in the rest of the world with juveniles. >> it is happeningly right now. there is a case in michigan. it wasn't a mandatory sentence, but once again, you had a juvenile who was sentenced to life without patrol. this is still happening. it's not even happening in countries like china or iran. very interesting. i think one of the issues here is what do you do moving forward in light of this u.s. supreme court decision, 2,000 to 2500 people currently serving time in prison. what do they do? go back and resentence all of these individuals and hold new hearings or trials? >> the supreme court said that sentencing juveniles to mandatory life violates the
cruel and unusual punishment clause. it makes no sense that we just say going forward, we are not going to do it anymore. if it's coruel andnub, it's crul and unusual for those out there serving those sentenceses. >> now, we don't have to go back and do retrials. we do resentences. and, you know, the comment on the piece that you ran that this would be impossible to do is just not accurate. there are transcripts from the original sentences hearings. there is the information they need to do those resentences. >> professor brooks, what would you say to the families of the victims? you know, these are crimes that had victims, people died. now, would the idea of them being retraumatized, what would you say to them? >> it's director, we are con stipitately reopening cases where there were real victims. i really feel for them. i know it's very difficult to relive a case you thought was done. >> you balance that gersches a
system that has given mandatory life without mitigating factors for a juvenile. it's just something we need to do. it's mandated by the constitution. the supreme court has said these sentences are cruel and unusual. so we have to go back and look at those cases. >> professor brooks, from the california joining us live, thank you and an exclusive report, we are going to continue to have more installments in our crime and punishment series. thank you. >> loosing ahead on "america tonight," our series crime and punishments could nots with a controversial program called "project rhodes. >>ty was making boo cue money, $900 for 30 minutes. i was getting it in. it was a conscious decision i made. i decided i am going to try this. >> it's not dissimilar from legislation and there is a war on drugs.
there is also a war on people who engaged in sex work. >> a new prostitution diversion program in phoenix drawing criticism. is it offering a second chance or increasing criminalization? s sarah hoy reports thursday. the headline, past the spokesperson, to the streets. >> thousands of riot police deployed across the capitol. (vo) we put all of our global resources behind every story. >> it is a scene of utter devastation. (vo) and follow it no matter where it leads, all the way to you. al jazeera america. take a new look at news.
600,000 people currently displaced from typhoon hiayan. the estimated death toll right now: more than 2,000 people. the damage, extensive, stretching across a number of islands and 36 provinces. aid groups are rushing to get relief into the most devastated areas. crippled roads and communications are still hindering efforts. the united nations refugee agency has managed to get four staff members and two container trucks into the hard-hit city of tacloban. the united states navy has sent five ships to the region with supplies including fresh water. they have some aircraft in there trying to help distribute aid. >> it's difficult but not impossible for pour countries to
recover from natural disasters. restoring communications, rebuildings roads, cost a lot of money. that's money poor developing countries like the philippines don't have. we are joined by paolo brian, the vice president of policy and campaigns. you get nations to deal with these natural disasters in advance. one of the biggest issues i think they are having in the philippines, it's a lot of islands. it's very scattered. were they prepared to handle this at all? not in the way indianapolis was. we were helping farmers to prepare for disaster. the scale we are able to operate at was nothing compared to what the needs were after the typhoon hit. >> when you are talking about a developing country versus if this disaster had hit a modern
industrial country, in the philippines, they are already facing poverty. it's a very i mpoverished country. it wipes out simple roads and farms and basics of their economy. can they actually recover from this? >> they can recover and they will recover and hopefully they will recover stronger. you are absolutely right. it's difficult for us to operate in there now because of this broken-down infrastructure. we have four teams on the ground now trying to get out live saving water to different populations. it's hard for us to move around. they have now reached about 20,000 families. >> that's 10078,000 people. we hope to get to half a million. it's tough going. not just the philippines. it's tough going in any country that faces this kind of economic hardship with what's happening with climate change. >> what can they do in order to help this country recover and improve its economy at the same time? >> let me just say this is obviously urgent for us now in the philippines, but this is
affecting a lot of countries. we've got still 800 million people in extreme property. and many of them are in countries that are susceptible for the climate disasters. if you take the 49 kuntz trees most susceptible to xlooiment disasters, 300 million people leafing on less than a dollar 25 a day. this same problem you are talking about is coming at us in mistaken of the 90 countries in which we work. what we've got to do is basically three things, first, we have to save likes and that's why the international community has rushed to get to the film means and other contexts. we have to invest early enough to help them prepare so that a dollar spent early saves $7 spent in response. more importantly than any of that in the long-term is we have to get the industrialized nations to get the money together to support these governments as they try to get ready for climate change disasters of the future and we have got to get a global climate deal because everything that you are seeing here is something way
we will see more of in the years to dom. >> the industrial nations responsible many say for climate change and the developing poorer nations that are feeling the brunt of the effects of it. >> they don't have the same kind of capacities to respond. hurricane sainted hit us, cost $70,000,000,000. americans were really to respond working with our government and rebuild lives quickly. thank you for joining us. >> that's oxfam's paolo brian, an interesting look at the devastation and the effects there in the philippines tonight. next, some unanswered questions in renetia mcbride's death. the stand your ground state. will her killer be charged?
the u.s. to legalize same-sex marriage. the state was actually the first one to start the debate back in 1990 and a state supreme court decision eventually led to congress passing the defense of marriage act in 1996. well, the official obamacare numbers have finally, been released: around 106,000 people signed up nationwide in its first month of business. that includes both the state-run exchanges and the 27,000 who enrolled on healthcare.gov. the administration's goal was 500,000 sign-ups. they fell quite short. the final chapter for boston's convicted mob boss, families of the victims lashed out at the 84-year-old on the first day of his sentenceses hearing. he sat quiet as federal prosecutors asked for a life sentence. he was convicted of 11 murders and racketeering. the death of 19-year-old renetia mcbride fatally shot by a michigan man after knocking on
his door for help is raising new questions about those stand-your-ground laws. a just-released autopsy report reveals that mcbride was not shot at close range. the medical examiner has now ruled her death a homicide. >> it was a late saturday night two weeks ago when this quiet street turned deadly. renetia mcbride had been in a car accident near the other did born heights neighborhood and began knocking on doors for help. her knock on the final door ended her life. the homeowner thought she was an intruder and shot and killed her while she was standing on his front porch. >> mcbride was shot in the face. an autopsy confirmed tuesday it was ruled a homicide. >> i don't want this guy walking around. he needs to be locked up. he needs to know what he did. he took the life, which was my niece's life. she's she was 19 years old. she is not here with us.
we couldn't even look at her. >> the shooter is not in police custody and has not been charged with a crime. a source close to the family revealed the shooter is a white man in his 50s, though his identity has not been publically disclosed. his attorney told the detroit news, quote, i am confident when the evidence comes, it will show that my client was justified and acted as a reasonable person would who was in fear for his life: mcbride's death has sparked local outrage and has reignited the natural debate over the application of stand your ground laws drawing parallels to the racially charged tray von martin tragedy. dearborn heights, the neighborhood where mcbride was shot is 86% white. mcbride is black. michigan's laws was similar to that used in the george zimmerman trial.
minimum is 1 of more than 30 states that has adopted the stand your ground. it protects people who defend themselves who defend themselves against intruders under which deadly force is considered justifiable. last month, trayvon martin's mother, sabrina fulton urged congress to revise the law. >> the person that shot and killed my son is walking the streets today. and this law does not work. >> now, the self defense law, stand your ground, garnered national attention when it was tossed around during that high profile trial of george zimmerman in the tray von martin case. could it come into place in the case of renetia mcbride. the attorney with us from detroit, i would like your reaction to the news that the autopsy finds she was shot not at close range. what dowd think that tells us? >> well, when the autopsies says
not at close range, that means that it was probably more than six, maximum 12 inches from her head. close range is considered less than 12 inches. has the gun 12 inches from her face and he blows her head off. >> what do you think happened here? have you been able to get your hands on any evidence yet or start interviewing people? do you have a theory? >> what we understand happened and i think it's undisputed that she was involved in an automobile accident. she sustained a head injury. her car was rendered undrivable. she was dazed, bleeding from the face. she was knocking on doors seeking help. she knocked on his door, and instead of calling 911, he decided to come to the door, take his shotgun, remove the
safety, and blow her head off. she was 19 years of age. she was 5' 4", 19 years of age, 5' 4". she had a baby face. there was no reason whatsoever for him to take his shotgun and blow her head off. he was safe in his locked house. he never had to go outside. all he had to do was call 911, and today -- or i'm sorry. yesterday, we learned that after he shot and killed her, called 911. the police were there in two minutes according to the police tapes. two minutes. when he heard her knocking, if he was scared, he could have called 911. they would have been there in two minutes. when had he heard her knocking, all he had to do was call 911. here is somebody seeking help. i am afraid to come to the door. police come. they would have been there in two minutes. >> i want to bring in the discussion right now, john
roman, a senior fellow in the justice policy center at the urban institute. john, thank you for joining us tonight from philadelphia. what do you make make of this case? it's a tragedy, another example of potentially how stand your ground exacerbates racial dispair at this in the case processing. you know, i didn't know before hearing this that the coroner had ruled it a homicide. it doesn't look like that's comeing into play here it could have been another case where the criminal justice system has different outcomes, depending upon the rates of the shooter and the victim. >> what's happening with the stand your grounds laws? the background if my understanding is they come from the castle doctorine which was meant to protect african americans from lynchings back in the day and now, this is an evolution. isn't it? can you tell me a little bit about the history? >> yeah. well, it's interesting. this all started in 2005.
in florida and then a best of your knowledge much states pass their own stand your ground laws over the next five or six years. a lot happened in 2006. michigan was one of them. and, you know, the argument that's being made here is that this extends you're right to protect your own life outside of your home that you can have the same rights if you are in a public space, the way the law was written, if you are in a situation where you could escape you had to make the effort before you used deadly force this changes those laws to say you can use deadly force? i want fobring you back in the discussion. i was going to ask you what you think. will they use stand your ground in this? >> they may very, very well do that. but it's not going to hold any water. in mitch, you have to have a reasonable belief that your life is in imminent danger.
now, he can say he thought his life was in imminent danger but that's not a reasonable belief. he is in his house. the door is locked. this is a girl 5' 4" tall, 19 years of age, knocking on his door. all he had to do was call 911. he wasn't in imminent danger of his life. he decided to open his door. he decided to take his shotgun and blow her head off. >> a very passionate case, one very quick response if you would. police, how are they handling this right now? is it in the hand of prosecutors? where are are we at? can you answer that? >> i understand on friday, the prosecute is going to issue charges against him: the prosecute has done a wonderve j job. she is involved the michigan state police, the local police department that originally investigated it and her own investigators from the prosecutors's. she is thorough. she is thorough and she has done a great job. >> the family doesn't want him in jail tonight or tomorrow.
they want a conviction. only a conviction will give this family gijustice if it takes he time tom gather all of the evidence and make the appropriate charges, then justice will be served. >> gerald, thank you so much. we are going to continue to check in with you on this case. we will bring updates on america tonight and john roman, thank you so much. stay with us. we have a lot more coming up here on america tonight. >>
this," the government releases frightening leland? are democrats defecting from obamacare. we will take you to the philippines as concern turns to chaos. john boehner says no to taking up the immigration bill. we will ask luis getterez if tht dooms reform. >> why will the braves spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a new stadium when they have a new one that works? we will see you at the top of the hour. new developments in a story we have been following off of louisiana's southern course, a massive sink hole apparently called by drilling from a company called texas brian has been growing each and every week, swallowing entire trees within seconds.
when america tonight visited bayou corn, scientists estimated it could be 40 acres. now, they estimate it could have at least 50 acres. new cracks are appearing in the containment levy built around the sink hole bringing fears for residents. incredible video. this week, the insurance company that covers texas brian is now suing them saying the company acted irresponsibly. america tonight's micheal ocou filed this report from the bayous of louisiana ♪ a million tears". >> to understand why mona degaut speaks about heartbreak, you would have to understand a little about the plates she mourns. ♪ home sweet home ♪ >> bayou corn is a remote stretch of southern used, deep in cajun current tree where the cypress trees and spanish moss frame the swamp land.
it's 350 residents have been known to call their home a little slice of heaven. today, heaven is not the word that comes to mind. >> as in of southern louisiana, great wealth lies beneath the surface. oil, natural gas and right below here, the nam olian salt dump, one mile wide and three across, there are 53 wells in the salt dump. this was drilled by texas brian in 1982 and sealed in 2011. at some point after that, the side wall of the cavern began to collapse. the first sign of trouble came in may of 2012. the earthly began to shake. gas bubbled up. on august 3rd, 2012, the ground began sinking. trees and other objects were swallowed up as saidiment moved in to the cavern a mile below the surfaces.
>> as the cavern fills up, the resulting sink hole has grown larger by the day. what's potentially more terrifying is what's slowly rising to the surface. a noxious brew of crude oil, decaying debris and tens of millions of cubic feet of explosive gases. general russell horne was responsible for coordinating military relief efforts for the hurricane battered gulf coast widely considered a hero, he has become an out spoken advocate for communities like this. honoree and a few residents took us out on a boat to show us the beauty of this place and the hazards they are facing. >> this is incredibly beautiful general. >> that's why i wanted you to see it. >> the general believes with all of that mining, all of that activity going on blow, state regulators have not been tough
enough. >> the natural tendency, when you approach a lawmaker is oh, yeah, but you know we cannot live without this industry. we have to be nice to them where are they going to go? >> boston, new york? miami? >> he believes existing regulations are adequate. do you believe there should be more regulations, at the very least, that the regulations should be more tightly adhered to? >> these regulations are pretty strong. certainly, the local regulators, and were aware of everything. again, we had no event for 28 years. >> texas brian has offered bayou corn residents $875 a week while they are unable to live in their homes. but sunny krantz says the damage caused by the mining has to be weighed against the benefits. >> obviously, the situation was
upsetting, but there are a lot of benefits that are derived from this raw material, this source of sodium chloride that we are delivering to a chemical industry that uses it for so many, many, many useful purposes. >> wilma subra is an environmental scientist and a macarthur fellow who has dedicated her life to helping families affected by industry. >> how common is it to have communities in this state emptied out or at least evacuated in the way that we are seeing here in bayou corn? >> when you have things like a train wreck, which petro chemicals spilled in the economy, when you have a rupture of a pipeline or when you have an industrial facility, have a big explosion, the people are evacuated. this happens frequently in louisiana. there is a need for one and there is a need for enforcement.
>> the petro chemical industry has hundreds of accidents every year in louisiana. residents complain the state's not doing enough it's too chummy with big gas and chemical. people here know how important the oil and gases industries are to their state. they are begin to go question the cost. with over 150 facilities that manufacture and release toxic chemicals, locals call it cancer ally. >> in 1998, 36 years old, i was diagnosed with breast cancer. >> i built this home in '99, because did because grady said
if you do this, then and you beat this, you can have whatever you want. so after an 11-hour surgery, chemo therapy, that's what he did. he built me my dream home. >> a dream home in bayou corn. once a little slice of heaven. today, mostly buried. >> i spent 37 years, three months, three days in the army defending this nation. and when we get attacked from within, things that make our citizens unsafe, it concerns me as a citizen. >> you can count on america tonight to continue following developments there. >> still to come, tonight, et cetera the life of the party. america's oldest dj. he has the youngest spirit, too. that's coming up next.
shrinkies were invented. that would be the 1940s. we were told he is part of the tapestry of the town, but to most chattanoogans, they just call him luther. >> 5 and a half minutes after 9:00 o'clock. >> he is unlike anybody else. he is chattanooga? >> i see nothing but a beautiful morning in chattanooga. >> at 91 years old, luther massengill is the oldest broadcaster in the united states his career spans more than seven decades. he still types his scripts on a royal typewriter. long time co-worker and friend, doris ellis. >> i think luther probably will die behind the microphone. it's something he loves it's just in his fiber.
i think he will do this until the very last breath he takes. >> his stories begins at the dawn of world war 2 when 17-year-old luther was working at a gas station. the owner of a local bassie ball team, joe ingall was starting a radio station. he pulled in, looking for gas, but he found much more. >> he said you got a pretty good voice. you interested flu radio? and i said i hadn't thought much about it. but i guess so. "we are having auditions" tonight. i said i will be there. i attended. he said, go on and read this for us. i went in, read it, came back out. he said, you did all right. would you like to be our apprentice or can you be announcer? "i'll take it." > at that moment, luther launched a career that kept going. ♪ >> louie jordan with "it's been said." it's 9 minutes until 11:00. >> going as vinyl became tape
and is still going to this day, as tape became digital. >> sound are found a jack russell terrier on highway 24, east boundary. >> did you think back then that you would still be sitting in a radio booth today? >> this many years later? no, i did not. yes get in it thinking i want to make a lifetime of this. it was pleasant work, good pay, not too much at the beginning. but it was all right. >> what is the most interesting animal you've ever found? >> al gator. i found an al gator that had evening aped. somebody had brought it up here from florida, and it had escaped. just scared the day lights out of the neighbors, you know. >> he is best known for his lost pet announcements. >> good morning. you've got a missing dog? >> yes. >> thousands of grief-stricken chattanoogans have called luther
at all hours of the day looking for missing members of their family. >> she went missing yesterday afternoon. >> sunday afternoon in what area? >>. >> you remember keeping a dog for a friend who was out of town and you have lost it, law, law, law. >> i can't remember a time when luther wasn't in our home. seriously, ever since i was in diapers, he has been on the radio. it was just a constant voice eating our cereal. >> cloudy skies. >> james howard has been luther's co-host for 20 years. he was born at the height of luth luther's influence. like most, james has his own luther story. >> i was 9 years old. it was my responsibility to feed my dog, andy, and one day, i went to go feed andy and he wasn't there. i never forget. my mom looked at me and said,
james i will call luther three days later, we are sitting around the table. my mom gets up. she answers the phone and she goes, hey. shhh. i it's luther. yes. yes, luther. and luther had found andy. andy was less than a mile away from my home. >> james wrote a book called "my life with luther. an in-depth look at luther's influence? >> he almost caused a gas shortage during the carter administration. >> what time? >> exactly. it just takes some simple words out of luther's mouth. what luther says. luther went on the radio and said we have got this gas shortage. beware. you need to go fill up. well, everybody did that. and by the end of the day, we
were -- wasn't a drop of fuel in and around chattanooga. >> in the tennessee valley? >> that's right. exactly. >> anyone get mad at you for that. yeah, luther, don't do that again. >> that's aggravating. i said i will try not to. >> we did manage to find one person who hardly ever listens to luther's show. >> you heard them talk about you on the radio and stuff? >> i really don't know because i don't listen to the radio. i'm sorry. >> she doesn't listen to your show? >> i know. >> everyone in chattanooga listens to your show except your wife. >> yeah. >> mary and luther got married in 1957. they still live in the same house they moved in to almost 60 years ago. >> we met in church. i knew his mother way before i knew him. >> when you heard he was this radio personality in town, did
you have any thoughts? >> did you change your mind? >> well, maybe i should have. no. i didn't change my mind. he was just always so nice and sweet and calming. >> two kids later? >> yeah. >> two grandkids later? >> two grandkids. >> still in love? >> still in love. >> yes. >> i wouldn't trade him for anything? >> i wouldn't trade you for anything either. >> come on. >> honey. >> was the onion rings good? >> his loyalty goes beyond his career and marriage. every tuesday he has lunch with the same group of friends going back decades. >> do you think it's crazy to keep working like this? >> no. >> he loves his work. keeps going. >> yeah. >> i think it's great. >> some of the people actually love you have. >> i guess so. i don't know. >> he is said to be the only person in the world who is on air for both pearl harbor and
911. in addition to working his morning radio shift. >> the sunday race. >> the 91-year-old has and daily since the 1950s on dwef television. >> luther, welcome to the hall of fame. >> that's yours. >> luther was welcomed into the national radio hall of fame last year. and chat nuga also gave him its own honor. >> what's it like when you drive by this sign on your way to work, luther was? >> it's a good feeling because they spell the name right. >> luther, you are, i think it's fair to say, you are the oldest dj in the u.s. right now. >> that's what they say, yeah. >> what do you think of that title? >> people kid me about it, and when are you going retire, luther? i say i have no plans. if my voice starts failing as it does in an older person, and i am at that old age now, 91, but
if it begins to quiver, then i will step down. >> have i ever found your dog? >> i think it's incredible when you go around this town and the way people react to him i can only imagine what it's going to be like when et cetera gone. have you thought about that? >> yeah. >> a big loss? >> yeah. absolutely. absolutely. >> i don't like to think about life without luther because the book is called "my life with luther." i don't like to think about that. but i know. i am that that day will come. >> and it will be -- it will be a sad day. >> the love for luther has spread well beyond chattanooga.
lead to go many job offers over the years from bigger markets like new york and philadelphia. >> that never really seriously entered my mind, to move out of chattanooga and take a job that was so much more lucrative than what i had. >> you could have been rich. >> yeah. i could have been rich and you people would have been -- no. i can okay. >> i don't know what i would have done with him if he was rich. >> she wouldn't have taken me, yeah. >> but he is nice. he is nice. i think i will keep him around for a few more years anyway. >> so will we. >> that's it for us on "america tonight." we will be back tomorrow.